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Entrepreneurship program aims to grow representation of Metis women

A new initiative has been launched to help support Metis women starting their own businesses.

Audra Hill is a Metis entrepreneur and owner of Farmer John’s Local Market and Kitchen in Emerald Park. Hill opened her store only a month ago.

Historically, Metis women are underrepresented among entrepreneurs and business owners.

“There is a reservation people have when you tell them about your ideas and it can be discouraging at times,” said Hill. “There is a lot of tangible and intangible support that a business is looking for.”

On Tuesday night, the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF) announced an initiative to support entrepreneurs like Hill and break down some of the barriers Metis women face when they start a business.

“The CCDF was a huge champion for my ideas and helped me break down barriers and even build up a level of confidence to move forward with my ideas and my plan,” said Hill. “You can ask all the silly questions you don’t have answers for. But from a support perspective, you have someone to talk to and ground you a little bit when things get scary.”

The Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship (IWE) program hopes to give Metis women the same access to capital, resources and opportunities as non-indigenous entrepreneurs to help build their businesses.

“Our mission is to improve the economic circumstances of Saskatchewan’s Metis,” said Victoria Gagné, a specialist responsible for the Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship program.

“The CCDF looks at reducing those systemic barriers to entrepreneurship. We want to make sure they’re getting the same interest rates, same opportunity and access to the same organizations as any other entrepreneur.”

Innovation Credit Union partnered with the CCDF and the IWE program to connect with entrepreneurs who are serving the members of the community in different ways. Board Chair, Russ Siemens, said the record of the CCDF speaks for itself.

“The training and development of entrepreneurs provides support for them and for us it’s about providing the financial services and we know they have a background of strong support that will help their business be successful.”

“These women are so resilient, innovative and audacious and we’re excited to give them the tools and reduce the barriers so we can get out of their way and they can succeed,” said Gagné

Currently, the CCDF portfolio is 36 per cent Metis women and hopes the program will grow the ratio to 50 per cent over the next few years. Top Stories


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